Tuesday, May 02, 2017

April Retrospective

1) My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

I'm pretty sure I love everything Sophie Kinsella has written. More and more, I feel like an outdated old lady. I realize this is ridiculous to feel at age 39, but I truly have no desire to see 99% of what comes out at the movie theater or what comes on TV, and probably even less of what comes out on the radio. I hate most of what is in clothing stores (has anyone ever looked good in a trapeze dress? No. It's not even up for discussion. No. No one looks good in them, not even the models. But there they are in every store this spring.) But sometimes I feel like there are special people out there who somehow, while still being modern and trendy and relevant, can manage to also get me. I feel like Kate Spade designs for me and Sophie Kinsella writes for me. Is there anything more perfect than a pink Kate Spade handbag? Nope. Well, unless it's a pink Kate Spade handbag with a new Sophie Kinsella book tucked inside! This newest book of Sophie's (because we're friends, she just doesn't know it- and also, Sophie isn't her real name, but that's okay) harkened back to my old thoughts on blogging at the dawn of social media- basically, giving the impression of a perfect and pretty life through social media in spite of reality. I have heard one blogger give a good defense for this- basically, she has dirty dishes and bad days too, but who wants to read about that. Fair enough. But there's a difference between focusing on the positive and creating a false online persona, which is what Katie Brenner has been doing. She is convinced that other people in her life have a perfect life and desperate to conceal the imperfections in her own life from her friends, her coworkers, and even her parents. So when everything falls apart for her, the reader is kind of relieved! Now she can be authentic about what her life is really like! But this is a Sophie Kinsella book, so no. Just as Becky Bloomwood hides from Derek Smeath and leaves Luke in the dark about certain details, Katie, with the same optimism and dumb luck, bumbles her way through until, of course, the truth comes out. Oh Sophie Kinsella characters, when will you learn?! I hope you never do! 

2) The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos

I had de los Santos' children's books on hold and this one on my "later" list when I noticed Modern Mrs. Darcy had actually included the on her "books that are better in the spring" list. She also mentioned that it had Middlemarch references! And since I had just finished Middlemarch, I put it on hold at the library as well. But oh, this one was rough! Excruciating might even be the word. But I love how she writes characters! All of her characters (or all of the healthy ones) seem to really see people and really cherish them. They are so kind and caring and understanding and thoughtful and well spoken- not like real people at all, but it makes me think she must know people that are this way. I don't think she could write such mature and intelligent people so well without having known people like them. I can't help but think she is this way. And I want to know her!

3) Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan

I technically haven't completely finished this one, but I'll count it for April anyway since I'm mostly finished. What can I say? Jim Gaffigan is hilarious.

4) Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

I am sorry to say that I didn't really like this one. I love that de los Santos and her husband wrote it together though. And I do realize I'm not the target audience. First off, it is a time travel story involving a mining community in New Mexico- that's three strikes right there for me. I don't generally enjoy time travel, though I will say that the explanation of how it worked in this book was the least mind boggling explanation I've encountered so that was cool. I also don't like the Southwest. Or, I've never actually been to the Southwest, but not only do I have no desire to go, I generally feel hot and dirty and thirsty and depressed just thinking about it. And I am not sure anyone gets excited about mining, but as far as I'm concerned, that's another dirty and depressing thought right there. Anyway, I guess the biggest thing was that I just didn't care about the story, and particularly about Lucas Biggs- it would be like if Mary Poppins was geared at "saving" the old banker guy played by Dick Van Dyke, as if that was the point of that story and that's what we were told to care about as an audience. For most of the book I just kept looking to see how many more pages I had to go.

5) Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

This is the other book Marisa de los Santos has written with her husband. I liked this one a little better, but still not very much. Again though, I am not the target audience. And again, we had a Southwest setting- and this one was in desert wilderness complete with serious sunburns, stinging cactus, dehydration, and sand in the food. I did like the characters though. However, they were harder to know and understand and realize than most of de los Santos' characters.

6) Outlaws of Time #2- The Song of Glory and Ghost by N.D. Wilson

I finished this one today and spent much of the read thinking about and praying for the author who had brain surgery today! Fortunately, I was able to find his wife's Twitter feed and she says he has indeed come out of surgery okay. It is kind of overwhelming to think of the brain that came up with this tale, who also came up with Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl, being opened up and operated on! But it is worse to think of the tumor that was on it, threatening it. So what a wonderful answer to prayer that Nate made it through surgery and the tumor is gone! Now if I could just make sense of this book! Ha! As with the first one, I just found my brain stretched trying to wrap itself around time travel. And I still don't know why Sam's friends are named for the twelve disciples. But  I liked it. And I look forward to a recovered Wilson writing new books for me to muse over for years to come.

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